Field hospital at Greater Columbus Convention Center remains prepared


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The field hospital at the Greater Columbus Convention Center remains unused as the number of patients admitted to Central Ohio’s hospitals continue to rise.

“There are a number of interventions the hospitals can still put in place until we would have a need to really set up and admit patients to the convention center,” said Jeff Klingler, president and CEO of the Central Ohio Hospital Council.

Klingler said those interventions could include converting single rooms into double rooms and using the areas typically reserved for outpatient care to treat those admitted to the hospitals.

He told NBC4 that discussions are underway for the hospitals to postpone some elective surgeries.

“Capacity is very, very tight and so those discussions are very active in terms of delaying certain procedures that can safely be delayed,” he said. “I don’t have a timeline for you, but I would say it’s sooner rather than later.”

The hospitals are also working to manage staffing shortages as more healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19, or remain in quarantine as a result of being exposed to the virus.

“In terms of interventions on the staffing side, they are working to reach out to any clinician that would be available to them such as nurses that recently retired and those students who are close to graduation, seeing that there’s an opportunity to utilize some of those folks to care for patients,” Klingler said.

As for the field hospital, Klingler said several pieces of equipment including cots, sinks and electrical boxes remain in storage at the convention center. The partitions and emergency generators would need to be rented again, and the surge site can be rebuilt within seven to 10 days.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

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